This was to be a Summer Pastel Watercolor Cake but turned into a Rustic Autumn Cake. Why rustic? The colors muddled together taking them from pastels to muted hues. Also, the frosting began to crust over before I finished smoothing it. The result is cool in that the frosting looks like paper yet the taste is still the same. I used my favorite go-to vanilla cake recipe from the vintage Betty Crocker Cookbook and my Creamy Buttercream Frosting. I jazzed up the middle layers of frosting with raspberry jam adding another layer of flavor to the cake. The base color is pale pink and dollops of green, yellow and medium pink were applied to the sides to create a smeared effect.

Vanilla Three-Layer Cake
2¼ cups Softasilk Cake Flour (or 2-1/8 cup Flour), sifted
1½ cups Sugar
3 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
2/3 cup Crisco Shortening
1 cup Milk
1½ tsp Vanilla
3 Eggs

Grease and flour three 7-inch cake pans.
Mix Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder and Salt. Add Shortening. Add a little over half of Milk to the dry ingredients. 
Add Vanilla. Add remaining Milk and Eggs. Mix well. Pour into baking pans.
Bake 25-30 minutes at 350 until cake tester comes out clean.
[This is the Rich Golden Cake recipe from the 1950 Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook]

Creamy Buttercream Frosting
1½ cups Butter (3 sticks), softened
6 cups Confectioner’s Sugar, sifted
½ tsp Vanilla (optional)
1-2 tbsp Heavy Cream, room temperature
Wilton French Tips #6B, #199

Beat butter for 8-10 minutes until pale and double in volume.
Gradually add the sugar 1 cup at a time beating well after each addition.
Add vanilla and cream. Beat well until icing is smooth and fluffy.
[Note: Frosting is very sweet with Confectioner's Sugar so I usually skip the vanilla.]

Buttercream Raspberry Filling
Buttercream Frosting
Raspberry Preserves (slightly warm)
Mix some untinted frosting with two spoonfuls of raspberry preserves.

Separate frosting into four bowls.
Color ½ cup of frosting Medium Pink with AmeriColor Super Red
Color ½ cup of frosting Green with AmeriColor Avocado
Color ½ cup of frosting Yellow with AmeriColor Egg Yellow
Color remaining frosting Pale Pink with a smidge of AmeriColor Super Red

Assemble the cake and frost each layer with buttercream raspberry filling.
Crumb coat (optional) the top and sides of cake with untinted frosting.
 Chill in freezer for 5 minutes.

Frost sides and top of cake with pale pink frosting. 
Add dabs of medium pink, green and yellow frosting on sides of cake.
(Base coat is pale pink but appears white in this photo)

Using spatula or bench tool, smooth sides of cake to smear colors creating design.
Using tip #6B pipe dollops on top of cake.
Using tip #199 pipe shell design around edge of cake.




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The era of rotary phones, transistor radios and gas-guzzling family cars is a bygone era. Today's pocket phones, satellite radio and fuel efficiency are definitely changes for the better. While our world is constantly evolving with improvements through knowledge, innovation and technology, I wonder if some of the simple things are fading away such as handwritten notes and letters. With long commutes, extensive work hours and endless 'To Do Lists' in our hustle-bustle world, are we missing out on something as special as a handwritten note or letter? I doubt most of us think about it but I've got to write something on this blog!

It's much faster and easier to send an e-card greeting, text and e-mail. We all do it every day as an instantaneous form of communication but it leaves no trace. We’ve all heard stories of descendants finding love letters of ancestors and missives written on the battlefields sent home. The digital greeting will not be there to discover in the old chest stuffed with memorabilia, in the dusty corner of Grandma's attic.

To open the mailbox (the one on the sidewalk or porch) and find a greeting among the bills makes my day. I can hold it in my hands, read it years later and keep it forever. I'm sentimental and keep all birthday cards, notes and letters going back to my teen years. Although, I cannot remember the last time I wrote a letter, probably decades ago. I still send birthday cards and write thank you notes, no matter the cost of a postage stamp. Perhaps nostalgia for the personal touch of handwritten correspondence will become popular again someday. I hope a trace of this custom remains and does not disappear completely. What's your take?

Mason Jar Cookies are the rage on Pinterest. Some are filled with fireflies, jelly beans and even monograms. These are decorated with my favorite stencil and brightly-colored shades of airbrush in a Lilly Pulitzer design.

Mason Jar Cookies
Mason Jar Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted White with AmeriColor Super White
Royal Icing for flooding tinted Bright Green with AmeriColor Electric Green
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tip #2
PME Decorating Tip #1.5
Elegant Teardrops Stencil
AmeriColor Airbrush Colors (Royal Blue, Deep Pink, Orange, Lemon Yellow)
Airbrush Kit or Wilton Color Mist

Outline cookie with #2 tip in white icing
Flood cookie with white icing.

Pipe lines with #2 tip in green icing.

Pull toothpick through the icing to create marble design.

Let dry overnight.

Place stencil on the cookie. Spray with airbrush color. Gently lift stencil. 

Let dry 20 minutes.

Pipe detail of mason jar with #1.5 tip in white icing. Let dry overnight.




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Do you ever think about your favorite childhood memories? I have many but this time of year the one that comes to mind was the annual summer trip to Connecticut to visit our paternal cousins. The two families of my Dad's sisters lived in a typical post-WWII suburban neighborhood. Their street was lined with bungalows in a neighborhood full of kids (it was the baby boom era) riding bicycles and roller skates with a key, families grilling out and playing lawn games in a quaint New England town. 

My brothers and cousins (me in front with geeky bangs) at my Cousin's 8th Grade Graduation - 1960

This was a time before air-conditioned homes were commonplace. Inside noisy fans oscillated back and forth moving warm air in an attempt to cool the houses in summer. So families would hang out on front porches and back patios. Aunt Dot and Uncle Bub (that's not a typo; that's what we called him and don't ask me where he got that nickname; no one knows!), had a covered patio in the back of their home that ran the entire width of their tiny house. Their front yard was shaded with mature trees where we played badminton. Although, most of the fun occurred on the patio, which was furnished with webbed chairs and mini side tables set out with plenty of goodies for nibbling. My aunt had those spreaders that looked like veggies (corn on the cob, tomato, carrot and peas in a pod), for the the soft cheddar in the brown crockpot. There was lots of laughter and giggles as my paternal family had a great sense of humor and plenty of knee tickles from our eldest cousin. The adults had their Tom Collins summer cocktails, while the old refrigerator in the dank basement was stocked full of soda bottles in every flavor you can imagine. Oh kid heaven! Then as dinner time approached Aunt Dot always drafted my big brother Ricky to husk the three dozen ears of corn for this crowd. We would tease him that as her Godson he was our aunt's favorite, while Mom in turn drafted the rest of us kids to help out. This task took place on the back stoop careful to remove every strand of silk from the cobs of corn. Complete with the all-American summer feast of hot dogs, burgers, potato salad and watermelon, the fun continued until after dusk, all the while making cherished memories of a simpler era and precious time spent with family.  What's your favorite summertime memory?

Watermelon Cookies
Candy Corn Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted Lavender with AmeriColor Electric Purple
Royal Icing for flooding tinted Black with AmeriColor Super Black
Royal Icing for detail tinted Teal with AmeriColor Sky Blue and AmeriColor Lemon Yellow
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tip #2
Wilton Petal Tip #101
AmeriColor Violet Airbrush Color
Airbrush Kit or Wilton Color Mist

Outline cookie with #2 tip in lavender icing
Flood cookie with lavender icing.

Pipe dots with #2 tip in black icing. Pull with toothpick. Let dry 60 minutes.

Pipe ruffles with petal tip #101 in teal icing. 

Let dry overnight.

Gently airbrush edges of watermelon with violet airbrush color. Let dry 45 minutes.





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